Waymo Launching Autonomous Taxi Service in Arizona
PHOENIX, AZ – Waymo, the self-driving vehicle company owned by Google’s parent company, is launching an autonomous vehicle taxi service in Arizona, according to an online news report from foxnews.com.*
The self-driving taxi service made its debut in Phoenix on December 5, and Waymo is taking a cautious approach during the initial days of launch. Waymo has been working with Google to develop autonomous technology since 2009 and has logged more than 10 million miles in self-driving cars on roads in five states, including Georgia. Waymo’s vehicles have been involved in few accidents, mostly fender benders.
That said, Waymo is very aware that its ride-hailing service is launching in the same city where a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian in March 2018. The company, therefore, is taking extra steps for safety, including requiring human safety drivers in every vehicle and limiting the service to only 100 square miles in Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and Gilbert. The service will also only be available to people who are already participating in Waymo’s pilot program, which began in 2017.
“Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully with the comfort and convenience of our riders in mind,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a blog post.
Waymo has future plans of opening the ride-hailing service to the greater Phoenix area, but it has not announced a timeframe for that expansion. It would also like to bring the service to other cities in the U.S., but it has not indicated which cities it is considering. Likely, these will be cities that, similar to Phoenix, have relaxed laws with regard to self-driving vehicles.
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